Kilchoman Machir Bay (2014 Edition)
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed October 14, 2015 (edited November 12, 2016)Peat and seaweed are the first scents to waft out of the glass, with sweeter hickory smoke and vanilla accompanying them; on the tongue, the tar-like peat gives way to allspice (sweet and savory), salt, and tropical fruit—starfruit comes to mind—this peat and fruit marriage is the most spectacular aspect of the dram; the enduring finish is full of peppercorn and mint; cereal, peat smoke, and fresh mint stay for the aftertaste. An excellent Islay malt—cheers to my wife on her birthday, whose tasting note for this one was, 'Tastes like a giant charcoal world.'
Booker's Bourbon Batch 2015-03 "The Center Cut"
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed October 4, 2015 (edited December 23, 2015)Exquisite ruby brown in color, with a thick maple smell (from a safe distance); this bourbon glazes your entire mouth in a hot, spicy elixir—chewing through wood spices, aromatic pipe tobacco (the kind you associate with your grandfather), dried fruit; a few drops of water enhance the praline sweetness, bringing out vanilla and melted butter; the aftertaste is musty, peppery, and sports the herbal/medicinal aspect of molasses; you have to lick the astringent, barrel mouthfeel off your palate, and this is followed by an infernal cinnamon finish. Sublimely paired with Barrel + Rye's locally sourced Brie burger, topped with grilled pears and caramelized onions.
Teaninich Flora & Fauna 10 Year
Single Malt — Highland, ScotlandReviewed August 2, 2015 (edited January 15, 2016)Believe me, the label on this one makes me want to think it's a better dram than it might actually be — quite pretty. Pale morning sunlight is the color, and the nose fits well with the visual in bringing pear, lemon blossom, sugar in the raw, and citrus fruit to mind; the taste reminds me of a sea breeze and is lightly malty, with cinnamon and perhaps cardamom making their way in the more I take; the finish is floral, slightly peppery, and is of short-medium length; I'd easily get a bottle of this — it's a light Highland malt but still a worthy one. Unfortunately this small bit at Edinburgh's The Abbotsford might be the best I can do. Certainly 3.5 out of 4 stars.
Tullibardine 228 Burgundy Finish
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed August 2, 2015Nice, deep hue; Bourgogne makes its influence on the well malted nose, and along with it comes red berries; I taste cherries, heather honey, sweet malt, and J.K.'s hard cider; this one burns tart and tannic, and it's fruity finish is long and smooth; where it lacks in depth it makes up for in the finish; a nice one for a mature summer night.
Bunnahabhain 12 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed August 2, 2015 (edited June 4, 2017)A nice color for this one; the first whiff reveals smoke and malt predominately, followed by softer notes of vanilla, sweet cereal, and orange zest; this one is on the lighter side in both flavor and body, and the palate adds a pinch of rock salt and quite a great deal more vanilla to what the nose has already given; eventually English toffee comes to play a more forward role, whereas the peatiness shows up for a cameo in the rounded finish; a light dram, albeit with complexity of flavor.
Talisker 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed August 2, 2015 (edited August 7, 2017)Revisiting an old friend, this time in its home on the Isle of Skye. Color is straw-like gold; the nose is vanilla, peat smoke, and toasted hazelnuts; on the tongue it is hot, peppery, and briny immediately, with a balancing, rich flavor of salted caramel — the malt shows up following these but is more subdued, and the oiliness helps the flavor stay on the palate for quite a while; the peppery burn lingers and lingers (probably my favorite aspect here), while the aftertaste is smoky and mildly wooded. The Talisker 10 is mundane and should be celebrated as such — it's what makes this one so great for me.
Ledaig 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed August 2, 2015 (edited January 5, 2019)First impressions of the nose bring to mind the finesse of Laphroaig and the smoky vibrancy of Port Charlotte — I'm intrigued from the first moment; nose continues with smoked meat, malt, and morning dew; taste is of more sweet and smoky meat (prosciutto?), and next comes honeydew and medicinal, herbal tea; the complexity the peat offers this dram is pretty extravagant; the finish is long and smooth, like a nice English tobacco blend; Mull has impressed me with this one — Islay aficionados, do try. Great to have this in Glasgow's lovely Kelvingrove Café. Five stars for overall taste and value.
Lagavulin 16 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed August 2, 2015 (edited November 29, 2015)The copper color is beautiful — I could look at it for an hour; the first thing that comes immediately to mind is smoked venison summer sausage, and soon after I smell seaweed, charcoal, peat smoke, and orange (when it's grilled with chicken breast) — the nose, even more than the color, has me paralyzed; the palate boasts sweet smoke from a blazing bonfire, the northern woods, more smoked game, maple bacon, and burnt cereal (think oven-baked barley with molasses); the eternally smoky finish leaves me wondering what lodge I've just been to, having eaten my fill of hunted game and roasted vegetables; the aftertaste is more of the seaside, with mineral salt and peat coming to the fore in a brilliant way; an experience I won't forget — earthy, peaty, smoky, hunted fare. I was always skeptical, but now I understand the hype. Now to try the presumably highly underrated Lagavulin 12. Definitely a 4.5.
Glenkinchie 12 Year
Single Malt — Lowlands, ScotlandReviewed July 18, 2015 (edited December 24, 2016)Nostalgic after-the-rain scent of a field of tall grass and mixed flowers in southern Indiana (a feeling locked in to memories of my childhood) — sweetness of hay, quite malty, and very floral; hints of vanilla and tropical fruit (dominated by lemon) on the palate, with a subdued but bountifully spicy maltiness; tea-like bitterness in the mouthfeel with a deep burn; definitely light in body but woody enough, the finish is lengthy and peppery; aftertaste is of dry prairie grass and has a malty depth; mundane but elegant, this reminds me of Deanston Virgin Oak but with far more assertiveness and surety. A pleasure to share this dram with my dear friend Kory in celebration of his marriage!
GlenDronach Original 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed July 11, 2015 (edited March 3, 2017)Beautiful color of rich copper. The nose reveals the Pedro Ximénez quite conspicuously; I smell overripe red grapes, honey, heavy malt, and it's pleasantly musty and sweet smelling. Incredible taste: rich Highland malt, sweet red grapes, pecans, nutmeg, baked peaches, barrel spices; and later, sticky sweet fruitiness along the lines of dates and dried cherries. There is a fairly tart and tannic mouthfeel at play, with a refreshing minerality. The finish returns to spiced raisins and malt and offers a lengthy, honeyed burn. This is a special Highland dram — a more-than-qualified spokesperson for the region.
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